Written by Hedwig Kuijpers, translated from Dutch.
All of Turkey – and Turkey followers worldwide – are abuzz with the allegations hurled into the worldwide web by Sedat Peker. Yesterday he published his eighth video. The Turkish government has reacted furiously to the corruption allegations of a fugitive gang leader whose YouTube videos have been viewed by millions of Turks.
Who is Sedat Peker?
Peker, who has been a prominent mafia figure since the 1990s, says he now resides in Dubai but moves regularly to avoid being caught by Turkish authorities. Last year he fled Turkey to evade a criminal investigation. He stayed in Germany for quite some time. He is wanted for protectionist extortion, coercion and incitement to murder, among other charges.
Peker is said to be a member of the underground Turkish organization Ergenekon, an alleged clandestine, secularist ultra-nationalist organization in Turkey with possible ties to members of the country’s armed forces and security services. The alleged group, named after Ergenekon, a mythical place located in the inaccessible valleys of the Altay Mountains, was charged with terrorism in Turkey. Peker was sentenced to ten years in prison as part of the Ergenekon trials; however, he and the other convicts were released several months later.
Peker began posting YouTube videos after he once again fled the Turkish government. In often rambling monologues on camera from behind a desk, Peker made unconfirmed allegations of suspicious deaths, rape and drug trafficking, and claimed to have ties to officials close to President Tayyip Erdogan. The eight videos have been viewed as many as 50 million times in total.
According to Sedat Peker, Turkey sponsors jihadists
In the eighth video of his series, released Sunday, he claimed that Turkey was sending weapons to Al-Nusra jihadists in Syria through a paramilitary group and a so-called “parallel army,” called SADAT, formed by the advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Peker, who has had close ties to Turkish rulers in the past, also detailed alleged cooperation between Turkish officials and Al-Nusra.
The fugitive mafia boss reportedly decided to send military equipment to Syrian Turkmen and shared the plan with a deputy in the ruling government to get permission to send the trucks in 2015.
“They said ‘let’s send extra trucks to Syria with your aid convoy’. We sent our trucks to Syria as aid trucks, then we posed for pictures with them. However, I thought they were sending other trucks to the Syrian Turkmen rebels,” he said.
Turkish government involved in drug trafficking
But the seventh video is the most shocking, as Peker accuses the son of a former prime minister of leading a cocaine smuggling gang from Venezuela to Turkey. And Peker claims collusion in northern Cyprus.
Former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is still a major figure in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). His son, Erkan Yildirim, visited Venezuela in January and February this year to set up trade, Peker said. Ships leaving the port of Caracas stop in the Dominican Republic, where they are loaded with the illegal drugs, Peker said.
Peker claims that Erkan is working with Halil Falyali, a man who has settled in northern Cyprus. From there, according to Peker, he runs money laundering and drug trafficking circuits.
Government protection, rape and attacks on journalism
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu is a central figure in the videos. Peker claims that the two had a relationship and that the interior minister protected the mob boss, including by giving him a security guard. Soylu denied during an appearance on state television last week that he had offered Peker protection.
In one of his first videos, Peker claimed that Tolga Agar, an AKP lawmaker, had raped a female journalist two years ago, who was later found dead, in what was reported as a suicide. Agar – the son of the discredited former interior minister in the Susurluk affair – denied the accusation in a statement posted on Twitter, calling it “slander.”
In another video, Peker claimed that men working for him were involved in the attack on the offices of Hurriyet, a Turkish newspaper, in 2015 after receiving a request to do so from an unnamed AKP MP.
Sedat Peker’s motives
But Peker is certainly not a hero, nor an amiable gangster as we see in the movies. Peker has proven time and time again to be a vile, fascist, turanic scumbag. If he turns against the Turkish government today, it is solely for personal gain and revenge. “We will shed their blood, we will take a shower with their blood…”. With these words at a meeting Rize in 2015, Peker threatened the academics who signed the Declaration of Peace. Some 1,128 academics from 89 different universities – including foreign scholars such as Noam Chomsky, David Harvey and Immanuel Wallerstein – signed the declaration titled “We will not be part of this crime,” which called on Ankara to end the “carnage and slaughter” in the east of the country in its fight against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), in which civilians were also victims.
He never fails to conclude each video with the Turanic oath. Turanism is a political vision of the future in which all Turks and other Altaic peoples would be united in one political and/or cultural unit. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Soviet Union, the ideology was mainly held by the Grey Wolves, a far-right Turkish organization that has been involved in liquidations and attacks on dissidents and members of leftist groups in the past at the behest of, or through, the Turkish state, the military or mafia organizations.
Peker has suggested at least one motive for releasing the videos: a police raid on his home in April, while his wife and children were present. In one of his monologues, he claimed that male police officers searched his wife’s underwear drawer.
Whatever Peker’s reasons, his accusations are becoming increasingly difficult for the government to dodge. On Friday, a reporter from the Anadolu news agency, part of the state media, asked ministers appearing at a news conference on an unrelated topic about the accusations against Soylu and others.
“Everyone, even children, talk about this in the bazaar, in the markets, in the metro bus,” said the reporter, Musab Turan. “Does our government have a plan for this?”